The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Burns

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Malaria

    5
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Robbed

    13
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Groped

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Giardia

    8
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Robbed

    5